What do I think, What can I do?

Archive for August, 2013

When Renewables reduce electricity bill


The following post mentions something that is repeated sometimes in the renewable energy debate.

How Maryland’s New Climate Plan Could Actually Lower Energy Costs

Depending on the regulations or feed-in-tariff, renewables can reduce the base cost as they can enter at 0 cost in the auction. This happens in Spain for example, but this does not mean that the final tariff is cheaper as renewable feed-in-tariff is added later. OK, the total amount maybe cheaper in the end or not (it was discussed here). Electricity cost definition is quite difficult to understand in many countries, in some too difficult. In my opinion, this is not the moment to discuss if solar energy or wind power are cheaper than gas or coal. Happily they have reduced their costs and are more and more competitive but they have been more expensive and will be in some places/cases for some time. I think that a much better and more clear message is to say that even if/when they are more expensive their costs will be much lower than a catastrophic climate change. Even when/if they are more expensive in the short-term, their long-term profitability will be evident. Otherwise, the pure current cost discussion can be quite disappointing, as in Kirguistan. So it is again a discussion between long-term and short-term, about our generation and the next ones.



Film poster from Wikipedia

I was lucky to go to the cinema this week and as usual in the few opportunities I have, I watched a science fiction film: Elysium.

Maybe it is not a trendsetter film but I kept me enjoying the action for almost two hours. It mixes some science fiction topics that appear credible with a lot of action and social drama.

Anyway, this is not a cinema blog and I am not more than a science fiction lover in different formats. The topic for me is: Was climate change present in the plot?

Not explicitly. It was not mentioned in any moment. However the Earth was a nightmare in the 2154, as in many other cases, a hot nightmare in this case, with a LA suburb that could be identified with any big African suburb nowadays. Meanwhile the few rich  were living in a space station that seemed a giant holiday resort, no place in the planet seemed secure enough for them. So climate change is compatible with the disaster Earth shown in the film.


Book cover, Image from Wikipedia

I recently finished reading this wonderful book, located 199 years from now, more or less. This science fiction novel describes a solar system vastly colonized and terraformed with many new worlds (Mars, Saturn league, Venus) starting to compete with an overpopulated and at the same time desastrous Earth planet. In many senses it is a continuation of the famous and successful Mars Trilogy from the same author: Kim Stanley Robinson. Many of the future trends are similar in both as the flourishing solar system colonies with a decadent but still strong Earth, the differences between spacers and terrans, the struggle between Earths capitalism and new Mondragon based cooperative economies, the longevity treatments and consequent change of living ages, relationships, social structures,… But there is an important difference, at least from this blog point of view, in Mars trilogy the Earths disaster explodes due to a volcano eruption in Antarctica, in 2312 it is climate change the main factor for social unrest and hunger in Earth due to sea level rise, loose of arable land, ocean acidification, extreme weather,…

Each time the book action closes to Earth the explicit climate change mentions are clear and countless (I have noted more than 15), for example:

  • Description of fife in the new Manhattan built over flooded streets is spectacular.
  • Same situation in other cities as Shanghai is mentioned.
  • Africa is suffocated by heat waves.
  • A terraforming project in Greenland is explained to stop ice cap melt.
  • The reanimation mentioned in the book consists of reintroducing several wild animals extinguished for loose of their habitats (animals struggling to survive nowadays).

This could be a the great book explicit and scientifically sound in climate change as Joe Romm asked, even if there are others from the same author more focused on that, I cannot talk about them because I have not read them, for the moment. This one is very clear and precise, considering what current scientific consensus thinks, and it is a great novel, already awarded a Nebula and nominated for the Hugo. And shows the importance gained by climate change challenge in the well informed Kim-Stanley-Robinson-future-world-prespective from the mid-nineties up to know (Mars trilogy was described as hiperealistic science fiction).

How will it be the climate changed summer?


This year I am enjoying my summer holidays in this beautiful coastal place called Sukarrieta. The summer up to date has been better than usual, and here this is definitively positive but I don’t intend to start a weather description typical of any skeptical blog. I just imagine for short periods of time how it will be the summer period for the people living or just spending holidays here.

And I imagine that many actions and enjoyments that are part of the everyday summer life here will have to adapt or disappear, as the small boat trips, the funny children swimming competition, the small or big beaches that form with the tides,…

Certainly, this town should have the potential to adapt to climate change. Maybe the whole wonderful area of Urdaibai will loose a lot of charm and biodiversity, and some more unpredictable things. Is everyone more or less conscious of this? I don’t think so.

However other places that live more from the weather based turism, and or that will become hardly enjoyable in summer will suffer much more and are as conscious.